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Randall Fried

Social Unrest in Judea: A Diaspora Perspective

As a Jew living in the diaspora, I am confronted with conflicting emotions when addressing the issue of violence among Israeli citizens residing in Judea and Samaria. I strongly support the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of a secure homeland in Israel. However, I am deeply troubled by the violence perpetrated by some Israeli citizens in these areas. It is vital to approach this matter with empathy and understanding while upholding principles of justice and accountability.

Israel, like many societies in the region, exhibits tribalistic characteristics, where collective responsibility is deeply ingrained. This sense of communal bond fosters solidarity and unity among Israelis, particularly those living in Judea and Samaria. While this unity has played a crucial role in Israel’s survival against existential threats, it can also lead to actions that transgress ethical boundaries.

To genuinely support Israel, we must acknowledge and condemn acts of violence committed by Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria. Upholding the moral high ground goes beyond mere rhetoric; it requires us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and defend the fundamental principles upon which Israel was founded. By denouncing violence among Israeli citizens, we can demonstrate our commitment to justice and ensure that our support for Israel is rooted in moral integrity.

It is important to recognize that many Israelis perceive the world to be against them. Decades of conflict and unbalanced international scrutiny have bred deep-seated mistrust. Nevertheless, Israel must strive to maintain the highest moral standards. Our actions and principles should not be contingent upon external perceptions but should reflect our own unwavering commitment to justice, human rights, and the values upon which Israel was built.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict perpetuates a cycle of violence that affects both sides. Israeli citizens, including those in Judea and Samaria, have endured numerous attacks by Palestinian terrorists, resulting in fear, trauma, and a pervasive sense of vulnerability. Within this context, some Israeli citizens may resort to violence out of a misguided sense of self-protection and retribution. While we should strive to understand the complexities that drive such actions, it is essential to acknowledge that violence and vigilantism, exacerbate wounds and impedes the prospects for peace.

Supporting Israel requires us to address the issue of violence among Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria without turning a blind eye to the wrongs committed by a few. It is our duty to demand accountability from those responsible. Israeli authorities should enforce the rule of law, prosecute offenders, and ensure that justice is served. Holding individuals accountable for their actions does not undermine the legitimacy of the Zionist project or the collective responsibility Israelis hold for one another. Instead, it reaffirms the moral foundations upon which Israel was established.

In order to support Israel and foster a just and lasting peace, we must actively engage in efforts that promote understanding, dialogue, and cooperation.  Grassroots initiatives, educational programs promoting coexistence, and support for peace-building organizations can contribute to cultivating a more hopeful future.

In conclusion, as a Diaspora Jew, I firmly believe that we can both condemn and understand the issue of violence among Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria. We must uphold the moral high ground, denounce acts that undermine the values upon which Israel was built, and demand accountability. Simultaneously, we should work towards a future where Israelis and Palestinians can coexist in peace and security. By doing so, we can truly support Israel’s long-term stability, legitimacy, and its fulfillment of the aspirations of the Jewish people.

About the Author
Randy is the Director of Philanthropic Engagement & Communication at Tzedek America. For the past twenty years, Randy has also been engaged in Jewish education as an educator for teens and adults, specifically spending the past 15 years teaching Holocaust history and the Jewish history of Poland. Randy is a member of the World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps and Speakers Bureau. Through Randy's communal work, he has also become involved in local politics and community outreach and has advocated for both communal and Jewish interests at the City and State level.
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